About Christmas Queer Movie Carol: Interestingly, the title is not only synonymous with the well-known holiday tale but is also the title of a different story originating from a 1950s book. This narrative found its way to the big screen in 2015 under the direction of Todd Haynes.
Renowned Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett, celebrated for her roles in various acclaimed films, adds this film to her impressive repertoire. Alongside Rooney Mara, Blanchett captivates audiences with a compelling and somewhat unconventional love story set against the backdrop of NYC. Read why the film endures as a noteworthy addition to the genre of gay Christmas classics.
History Behind Todd Haynes’ Carol
Similar to numerous acclaimed films, “Carol” has its roots in literature. In the 1950s, Patricia Highsmith penned the novel, titled The Price of Salt. Fast forward to the late ’90s, and the novel’s journey to the big screen began. Notably, Phyllis Nagy, a renowned writer, crafted the screenplay adaptation, earning an Oscar nomination at the 2016 Academy Awards ceremony.
It narrates the love story between two women, but their romance is far from uncomplicated. Firstly, they hail from divergent backgrounds, marked by distinctions in class and wealth. Complicating matters further, the narrative unfolds in the socially conservative 1950s, where same-sex relationships are often viewed with scandal. Additionally, an age gap adds another layer of complexity, with Therese (Mara) in her 20s, while Carol, is notably older.
Amid the holiday season, Therese is employed at a Manhattan department store when she encounters the alluring Carol. As the story unfolds, we discover that Carol is ensnared in a seemingly loveless marriage. The blossoming love between the two women becomes complicated when Carol’s now ex-husband, Harge (played by Kyle Chandler), endeavors to exploit their relationship during their divorce proceedings, aiming to secure full custody of their daughter.
Harge delves into Carol’s history, uncovering her past affair with her friend Abby (portrayed by Sarah Paulson), and employs unsavory tactics in an attempt to convince the court that Carol is unfit to raise their daughter. The tale doesn’t conclude with a conventional happy ending. However, it weaves a distinctive narrative with numerous twists and turns, earning “Carol” recognition as an awards contender in 2015.
A Timeless Queer Holiday Drama
The central inquiry remains: What makes “Carol” an iconic gay Christmas movie? While the enchanting backdrop of 1950s NYC, complete with department stores and festive charm, provides a captivating setting for a holiday film—with its delightful snowfall, rich color palette, and exquisite costumes—the narrative itself diverges from the typical Christmas tale. Steering clear of clichéd tropes, the film keeps viewers guessing about its unfolding plot.
Admittedly not tailored for a younger audience, “Carol” offers an alternative for those seeking a holiday experience that goes beyond Santa Claus and elves. It stands as a choice for a cozy evening without the intensity found in other R-rated Christmas films like “Die Hard,” “Lethal Weapon,” and “Violent Night.”
Despite its historical setting, “Carol” addresses timeless themes of marriage, family, and love that remain relevant today. The stellar performances, as mentioned earlier, contribute to the film’s enduring appeal. It’s no surprise that supporting players like Chandler, Paulson, and even Jake Lacy (Therese’s boyfriend) have gone on to tackle other acclaimed features.